Breaking the habit when it comes to processed foods can be harder than expected. Over time, our bodies have adapted to the sweetness, extra salt and preservatives added to junk food, making it difficult to snap out of unhealthy habits.
We know that processed foods are bad for us but what lasting effects are they leaving on our bodies?
Here are five good reasons to give up processed foods for good.
Processed foods are addictive
Researchers from the University of Michigan and Columbia University’s New York Obesity Research Centre, found that within certain foods, lie several similarities with the addictive nature of drugs.
120 undergraduates and 400 adults were asked to be part of the study, that used the Yale Food Addiction Scale, to determine the foods they couldn’t live without. Similarly, the study also included foods they found easy to resist.
The most problematic foods, according to the study, were those with a high glycemic load which acted to cause irregular and sudden spikes in blood sugar levels – causing you to feel hungrier quicker and overloading other organs that try to deal with the sudden intake of sugar into the blood stream.
The researchers surmised that in a similar way to drugs being easily absorbed in the body, becoming more addictive, so do these types of food when consumed on both a regular and irregular basis.
Related: What are the most addictive foods?
Processed foods cause inflammation
Inflammation can be both beneficial and detrimental to your overall wellbeing. In small doses, inflammation helps to heal infections and defend your body from foreign invaders. In consistent and chronic cases, inflammation can be incredibly harmful.
Not only does it disturb and unbalance the good bacteria in your gut, it can cause symptoms like flatulence, bloating, pain and sleep issues. Chronic inflammation has also been linked to an increased risk of disease – such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and even cancer.
Refined sugars, processed flours, vegetable oils and other artificial ingredients are all huge culprits when it comes to inflammation.
Related: Top foods that cause inflammation.
Refined foods ruin your mood
If you find it hard to concentrate, have difficulty remembering or suffer from ‘brain fog’ then your diet could be to blame.
Consuming moderate to high levels of processed foods can directly impact our state of mind. Conversely, eating a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods, assists in balancing hormones, maintaining energy levels and increasing productivity.
Related: 4 foods to boost your mood and improve mental health.
Processed foods and preservatives
Chances are when you’re consuming processed foods you’re also consuming all the chemicals and preservatives that are pumped into the ingredients. It is important to be aware of the ingredients and where they come from – this goes for any food you consume. Foods that are pumped full of additives, artificial colours, flavourings and fillers can be harmful to the body and long-term effects of these are still highly questionable, meaning we don’t fully understand the damage they could be doing to our health. Look out for ingredients such as zodicarbonamide, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) and aspartame.
Processed foods are not real
Whenever you need some extra incentive to say no to processed foods just think about the amount of chemicals and preservatives that go into producing them. If you look at the label and don’t understand any – or even some – of the ingredients, then chances are you shouldn’t be putting it in your body. Real goods grow mould and degrade over time, processed foods remain largely intact and retain the same appearance and shape, no matter how much they age.